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Wilchcombe Concerned Over Effects Of Tax On Tourism

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Obie Wilchcombe

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

A NEWLY imposed processing fee which has sparked the threat of a major cut back from US airlines coming to the Bahamas is an implication that the economy cannot afford, according to Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe.

While the new tax was announced and introduced in the House of Assembly during the yearly Budget debate, Mr Wilchcombe admitted that there was no meeting with the airlines prior to the increase.

He said a lack of understanding by the airlines of the new tax could be to blame for the negative response the government was now receiving.

“If they are informing us that the increase affects them negatively,” Mr Wilchcombe said, “and could cause them to pull out of servicing the Bahamas, then certainly we would have to sit down and talk with them and see what their concerns are.

“Over the last two years, our airlift was down and we now have to work hard to bring the numbers up.

“While we did announce that there would be a processing fee I don’t think that there was a real understanding by the operators.

“But with a threat as real as this one, we cannot afford it and we will have to consider what their concerns are on the matter.” 

Mr Wilchcombe said that airlift is a major support for the hotel and tourism industry.

Officials are hoping that in the next 12-24 months, passengers travelling to the Bahamas by air can reach to around 1.8 to 1.9 million passengers. Any withdrawal of service could render that goal unattainable.

The wave of backlash and the “dangerous reality” came, according to Tribune Business, when certain airlines representing 90 per cent of US airlift into the country wrote to Customs Comptroller Charles Turner saying they “may be forced to reconsider their service levels to the Bahamas.”

The letter sent on June 28, 2013 was on behalf of operators, including Jet Blue, Delta and American Airlines which expressed a concern for the short notice. 

Comments

The_Oracle 6 years, 12 months ago

Unfortunately the "elected" are masters of one thing only: Unintended Consequences. The appointed/Civil Servants have become masters of self preservation. They can look easily enough at what they want, but fail to consider the ramifications of their actions. Back stepping, back tracking, flip flopping, finger pointing, each individually trying to distance themselves from the backlash that occurs all too frequently. In all reality they seem to function at grade school level. Pay attention to food store prices this week compared to last week folks, The up to 5000% increase in Trailer clearing costs is going to show up at the check out. In other retail outlets it will be more gradual and larger due to the "environmental fees".

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realfreethinker 6 years, 12 months ago

How do they make such decisions without seeing the damage. Who the hell is running this country. I thought they say these clowns dont rush decisions they does consult first. They must be consulting the first grade students

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 12 months ago

Just 2 days ago Alfred Sears assured us that this is not the way they do things.... and I for one believe him! Thoroughness and efficiency are the name of the game in this town

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crabman 6 years, 12 months ago

why don't Burnsides do a cartoon of Obie strangling the Golden Goose instead of Crime

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lazybor 6 years, 12 months ago

Great!http://tinyurl.com/c7l9ck6" width="1" />

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GQ 6 years, 12 months ago

The unfortunate thing we have in the country is persons running (really RUINING) our Bahamas who have never managed even a lemonade stand. They just plain do not understand what it takes to be successful in business. They are masters in shooting the b...s.... at election time and we as voters swallow it all hook line and sinker. When we have another election will be be smart or dumb as usual? MARCH ON BAHAMALAND.

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Puzzled 6 years, 12 months ago

If we have so many smart people writing the comments in the paper, it is a mystery how we have managed to elect so many unqualified idiots to run the country!

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The_Oracle 6 years, 12 months ago

What smart (Idiot) would run for Politics? The well meaning intelligent person would be side lined/thrown under the political bus faster than you could blink, as these people are masters at Character assassination. Whatever well meaning intent may have driven an individual to participate would soon be extinguished by the Ulterior motives, positioning for personal gain and Devious behavior of Party members. (BOTH PARTIES) Their Common mantra in practice is "LET NO GOOD DEED GO UNPUNISHED! It is no wonder that the people of the Business Community have shrunk into the background. Someone has to make sure the supply lines of food and hard goods actually flow! An uphill and endless battle as it stands.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 12 months ago

@GQ...Leslie Miller I think it was, who was duly elected to a PLP seat said it the best, the Bahamians are dumb...and they STILL elected him. 'Nuff said!! Next election we will still use our idiots sticks and dig ourselves into a deeper hole.

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John 6 years, 12 months ago

Obie concerned about the Tourism product. Well at least the tourists have a choice...take it or leave it. But the average working Bahamian is having these heaps of new taxes shoved down his throat and into his already starving belly and he can't do nothing about it.

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ohdrap4 6 years, 12 months ago

THERE are no new taxes.

The extra you are paying is actually revenue enhancement.

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TalRussell 6 years, 12 months ago

Over my many years I have witnessed my fair share of businesses who cry wolf whenever the government attempts to impose new or additional taxes/fees. Including a few I had the misfortune of having invested in. Frequently, their opposition is, if you impose further taxes, we're are going to fail, or we'll be forced lay-off workers. In some cases the real fault lies within, they're unwilling or unable to fix their own poor performance problems and prefer to scream at the government rather than fix the problem. In this case it's threats to cut back or reduce foreign flights. I am not against government levying taxes, but against how they waste the tax dollars already being collected. Bahamaland does not run on the cheap, so taxes are always going to be with us.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 12 months ago

My concern is the same as always. In process of running a govt you have numerous projects to contend with. On any given project you need (~basically) three key things to be successful. You need a good team, you need a good project manager in charge of the team and thirdly (I'm not sure if this is the most important but it's an absolute necessity for a successful project), you HAVE to know who the stakeholders are. Small or large, you have to know who will be affected by any changes you make.

The 3 items touch all of my concerns about this administration after observing their operation for the past year. 1. They do not act as one. 2. There is no clear evidence of a leader, one person who has control of the whole group. 3. They are shortsighted. They have no vision of what success looks like before they act.

Admittedly one or more of these could probably be levied against every administration we've had for the past 40yrs. But this is the administration we have today and they really need to do better. I'm convinced they need the help of a professional management team.

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spoitier 6 years, 12 months ago

They would also need a lesson learned document from similar project, either at home or abroad. That is why you take a SWOT analysis of what you are planning on doing before doing it.

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ThisIsOurs 6 years, 12 months ago

No doubt we could go down the list of what was/is missing in the process, but with the highlighted items absent to begin with.....everything else is dead in the water.

For the common good, whosoever has an interest in running the country in the next 10yrs, please take some management courses now. You have 4yrs. Might be a good idea for management and professional ethics training to be prerequisites for candidate nomination. Maybe they should be auto enrolled in that new training institute, and graded on whether they are competent to lead. That would be wonderful, an independent body saving us from chosing between incompetents at the ballot box (I kid, I'm almost positive such a process would be open to corruption and it could possibly work out to be discriminatory...but I like the idea of having all persons vetted in some way before their name hits a ballot)

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 12 months ago

PLP or FNM it doesn,t matter when 1 in 4 people work in the public sector you have to keep raising taxes and borrowing ,,,now that the monster has been created as a way to absorb a run away birth rate no politician can tell them no ....PGC and the likes are not dumb they know we are at the tipping point and the end result is being like Jamaica and Haiti ,if we don,t keep borrowing and taxing to employ our irresponible baby making habits there will be a crime wave that makes today seem peaceful .....with out changing are sexual mores and values ,which theres very little chance of ,larger "urban" areas more crime and higher taxes are inevitable ...

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